Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The Arewa Defenders Forum (ADF) has called on the Federal Government to re-introduce the suspended Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) plan as a critical measure to address insecurity in northern Nigeria.
The group also cautioned the trio of the President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, former Aviation Minister Fani Kayode, and a former Senator, Shehu Sani, over their respective statements on the RUGA issue.
The President of the group, Nuruddeen Alkasim, in a statement after an emergency meeting in Kaduna on Sunday, raised concerns over alleged “Islamization and Fulanisation” of the country because of a RUGA proposal, adding that the suspended programme was designed to bring an end to the reign of killers using the name of the Fulani and their northern identity for political convenience.
According to the group, unless something is done about persons or groups opposed to ending the killings in the North, “it presupposes that there are hidden interests that are against a viable solution to the region’s multiple security and other challenges, and this could all be deliberately planned dangerous schemes by a section of our elites who might have drafted the Nwodos and Fani Kayodes and inconsequential opportunists like the Shehu Sanis of this world as their foot-soldiers.
The group added that, “Nwodo has only succeeded in exposing himself as one of those South East elites who do not want an end to the massive killing in the North by people masquerading as herdsmen, in an orchestrated agenda to kill agriculture, threaten food security of the region, its safety and generally run down the northern economy.
“We support the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups’ stand on the need to have the RUGA settlements in order to reduce the mobility of cattle breeders, so that the terrorists sponsored to destabilise the North would finally be exposed for who they really are.”
The group also took exception to the call by the Ohanaeze leader that all Igbos should “be ready to defend themselves,” adding that “by this, the Ohanaeze leader has made a call for resort to arms.”
Alkasim urged the Federal Government to “keep an eye on some southern elites opposed to ending the killings in the North, and investigate if they have links to the circulation of the arms used in killings and razing of villages.
The Arewa Defenders concluded its statement by issuing what it called “a final warning to the Ohanaeze leader and his collaborators, notably Fani Kayode, to end their politically-motivated campaigns and allow the Federal Government proceed with its agenda for peace through the proposed RUGA policy.”